Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens/Meriwether Godsey: A+! The reception was at Bloemendaal House and despite the chillier (and slightly rainier) than usual weather, it was gorgeous. When you book with Lewis Ginter, you have to use Meriwether Godsey as your caterer, and they were equally fantastic. Barbara Geary, the catering manager, was a pleasure to work with. She made sure to send champagne, beer, and hors d'oeurves over to the bridal party while we took pictures, which was much appreciated. They're not necessarily the cheapest venue, but I wouldn't have picked another location. The only issue was that some of my guests had trouble finding Bloemendaal House and said there wasn't anyone to direct them where to go.
Don Mears Photography: A+! Haven't gotten the pictures back, but I know they'll be fabulous. Don did our engagement pictures and we loved them as well. He and his wife Lindsay are so easy to work with. They got the formal posed shots done quickly and stayed active the whole night, making sure to get plenty of posed and candid shots of our guests. I can't wait to see the finished product!
Shyndigz: A+! If you haven't been to Shyndigz bakery yet, you must go! They did my grooms cake and wedding cake, and we still haven't stopped getting compliments on both. Nicole is so easy to work with, and she helped me out of a jam when my previous plans for the cake fell through about a month out. I surprised my groom with a poker themed cake at the rehearsal dinner, and it was fantastic....way better than what I imagined it would be. The wedding cake was beautiful and delicious too.
Lou Stevens Glam Squad: A+! Lou also helped me out of a bind when my hairdresser canceled on me about a month out. She did a beautiful job on me, my bridesmaids, my mother, and my sister in law, and she came to us, which was crucial. I brought a picture I found online of a hairstyle to my trial appointment, and she did an amazing job copying it for me. I got so many compliments on my hair! The make up was also perfect.
JB from Choice Entertainment: A+! We met JB at Choice's "Meet the DJ Night" and I'm so glad we went with him. He's been doing weddings and events for a long time and really knows his stuff. He walked us through the line by line for the evening, which was a big help, and everyone loved the music. My nephew, who is 3, danced the entire night
James Limo: A+. Everything was on time and exactly what we requested.
Bella Rosa: A+! I got my dress and the bridesmaids dresses from them and had a great experience all the way around. One of my bridesmaids, who works for the government and lives abroad, never received her dress (nothing to do with Bella Rosa...the State Department's mail system lost it!) and with only a few days before the wedding, they found another similar dress in the same color.
Vogue Flowers: D. This was the only disappointing vendor I used. While the flowers were pretty, the treatment I have received from Vogue's staff has been poor. They are disorganized and then when I have a complaint, they are unapologetic. The week of the wedding, they sent me a nasty email, claiming they'd been calling and leaving me messages for 3 weeks, trying to arrange final payment, when I had not one missed call or voicemail from them. When I called to straighten it out, the woman was still trying to argue with me about whether she called, rather than apologizing. Then, she finds that I had left a credit card on file after all, so I still don't understand what the problem was. She never apologized to me once. I also had requested on the phone that I have an aisle runner, but they never added it to my order and never sent me a final invoice, so I didn't have one on the day of and my flower girl couldn't toss the petals as we'd planned. When I emailed them about it afterwards, they continued to claim it was my fault. I've worked in retail before, and I would NEVER scold or tell a customer they were wrong, even if they were. They couldn't even muster up a simple apology. There are plenty of other beautiful florists in Richmond, so I recommend going with someone else.
I think that's about it....I stayed at Hotel Sierra for the night before and the wedding night and loved it. It was a beautiful suite, perfect for getting ready and getting pictures. It's also WAY more affordable than getting a suite at another hotel, like the Jefferson. We had the rehearsal dinner at Mekong Vietnamese restaurant, and they were great also, as usual.